Today would be the 101st birthday for economist Milton Friedman. Friedman is considered an important economist for those of us that don’t treat Keynesian Economic Theories as fact. That doesn’t mean we agree with all of Friedman’s theories either. But, that is an important lesson to be learned from Friedman: using economic theories as an excuse for politicians to intervene in the economy will never provide the fertile conditions needed for true innovation or economic expansion. To celebrate this event I thought it would be worthwhile to share five great Milton Friedman quotes:
“Keynes was a great economist. In every discipline, progress comes from people who make hypotheses, most of which turn out to be wrong, but all of which ultimately point to the right answer. Now Keynes, in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money,set forth a hypothesis which was a beautiful one, and it really altered the shape of economics. But it turned out that it was a wrong hypothesis. That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a great man!”
“The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy.”
“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.”
“So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”
“Every friend of freedom must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence.”
It is also worth watching this two-minute video from Milton Friedman being interviewed by Phil Donahue in 1979. In this clip Friedman takes on the topic of “greed”. This clip also includes quote number 4 from above.
Col. Denise Lind has found Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, according to Fox News’ Catherine Herridge. It was the most serious charge he faced. Manning, who leaked numerous documents and materials to WikiLeaks, was found guilty of several lesser charges most other charges. You can see a break down of the charges here.
This is great news. It reduces the chances of Manning being imprisoned for the rest of his life. The lesser charges he had pled guilty to add up to about twenty years for maximum sentences. Of course there are other charges he did not plead guilty to that must be taken into account. Even with the Aiding the Enemy charge dropped he could be sentenced to over 100 years in prison. Sentencing is expected tomorrow.
About a half-year ago I posted that all charges should be dropped. Since that did not happen I can only hope the Judge will take PFC Manning’s heroic actions into account and use minimal sentencing. It is key to remember that PFC Manning’s “crime” was to reveal war crimes committed by the US on behalf of its citizens.
Unfortunately most people won’t even know about the actions of PFC Manning or the results of this trial. As I noted earlier this month the mainstream media has been purposely turning against whistle-blowers to keep in favor with the Obama administration.
About two weeks ago I posted that libertarian activist Adam Kokesh was about to be released from jail for committing a victim-less crime. I forgot to do a follow-up to the story at that time. He in fact did not get released at that time. The media reports were premature. It was not until last Thursday that Kokesh was released on bail; and then quickly grabbed by police for federal charges. So now Adam sits in a DC jail.
Adam’s preliminary hearing was today. Here is the release from the Kokesh team about today’s hearing:
PRELIMINARY HEARING: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA VS ADAM KOKESH
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SUPERIOR COURT
JULY 29, 2013 09:00
The courtroom this morning was dimmed for Adam Kokesh’s first hearing after he was taken into Federal custody on Friday, July 26. As Adam was brought in front of the judge in an orange prison jumpsuit and shackles, Adam’s attorney, Peter Cooper, immediately asked why the Federal Marshals had confiscated Adam’s notes. The judge replied that Mr. Cooper could “buy the transcripts, if he wished”. The tone for this case thus set, the prosecution brought forward Detective Robert Freeman to testify regarding the affidavit that he presented to Judge Frederick Sullivan. The affidavit for this case is in addition to the sealed affidavit that allowed a coalition of federal thugs to perform a raid on Adam’s Herndon residence three weeks ago.
The contents of Detective Freeman’s affidavit, accepted today, were not read verbatim, but did specifically mention the YouTube video that Adam posted on the morning of July 4. The sealed affidavit from the Virginia case has not yet been opened.
The tone throughout the hearing was terse, and the prosecuting attorney repeatedly objected to each question that Adam’s lawyer posed, citing ‘discovery’ as the reason why any question whatsoever would be absolutely invalid. It seems as if the court has at least one confidential informant that will see the stand as the case progresses. The judge’s attitude went hand-in-hand with the prosecution, portraying Mr. Cooper’s questions as insolent and repeatedly threatening to end the hearing early.
Adam’s lawyer pressed the witness to describe the shotgun that was found in Herndon, and the witness could not name the model, but stated that it was the same shape and color as the one portrayed in the video. When asked if he knew what a green screen was, Detective Freeman noted that he “was not a video forensics analyst”. Judge Sullivan stated that it was ‘ridiculous to question’ the authenticity of the video, because Adam had ‘racked a shotgun for all the world to see’.
Mr. Cooper’s questions laid bare the gaping holes in the warrant and the case to light, though it remains to be seen whether the facts will overcome the overwhelming bias that Judge Sullivan showed in the opening act of this high-profile case.
The attorneys for the day’s other cases in the front row of the courtroom pulled up Adam’s YouTube channel on their mobile devices and cracked jokes about Adam’s guilt. Adam has been charged with carrying a firearm outside his home or office in the District of Columbia, which carries a sentence of up to 5 years.
The tension in the courtroom came to a head when the Judge shouted that he “WOULD NOT ENGAGE IN RIDICULOUSNESS” after accusing Mr. Cooper of “wasting his time” with “ridiculous questions”. He scoffed at Adam’s attorney. None of that mattered though as Adam was denied bond for this case. The judge said that Adam was a flight risk, and because he is outspoken political activist who was found with weapons, he is also considered dangerous to the public. The judge also noted that Adam had a previous minor marijuana charge from June 8, 2013.
Adam will remain a political prisoner without bond until his felony status hearing on August 13. The AVTM team is continually raising funds for Adam’s legal and operational expenses atwww.adamvstheman.com/invest. and we have raised approximately $17,000 of our goal of at least $45,000. Please donate as much as you responsibly can in order to make sure that Adam keeps his freedom. We will be releasing further updates as they develop. Thank you immensely for your support.
There you have it. The judge is not worried about Adam’s rights or any actual facts. Instead he is annoyed that an American would dare stand up for the civil rights of all citizens. Further thoughts on this forthcoming in future posts.
Right now Republicans in Congress are posturing to block any budget or continuing resolution (because of a lack of budget) that includes funding Obmacare. It seems like a good path to go from a fiscally conservative anti-Obamacare perspective. But reality is a lot different from something that “sounds good”. Over at Reason there is an excellent post by Peter Suderman about The GOP’s Unworkable Plan to Defund Obamacare. Suderman’s whole article is worth reading, however I would like to focus on what he has to say about healthcare policy and the GOP:
This is the problem for the GOP when it comes to health policy: It has no idea what it really wants, except repealing Obamacare, and maybe protecting Medicare for today’s seniors. (Mitt Romney’s primary health policy message, you may recall, was that Obama should not have cut Medicare to pay for Obamacare.) Which is probably why the party is having such trouble fighting a law that’s clearly having more than its share of bureaucratic troubles, and why GOP legislators are finding it so difficult to harness the very real public frustrating and confusion with Obamacare. Republicans, having never made the issue a priority, can offer no real alternative of their own except: not this. On health policy, Democrats may not have something that people like, exactly, but they have something. And they have that something because they spent the time to build it. As a party, and as a political institution, Republicans have never spent the time and effort required to unite the bulk of the party, and enough of the public, around a workable alternative. Instead, it has unworkable plans to fight the president’s policy.
This is exactly why Republicans are known as the “party of no“. I agree it is important to defund Obamacare. But while doing so the Republicans must set forth a vision as to what they plan to do instead. There is no semblance of a vision coming from the GOP.
Out of curiosity I chose to look at the 2012 Republican Platform (the one Romney failed under). Here is the relevant portion for this debate:
Our goal is to encourage the development of a healthcare system that provides higher quality care at a lower cost to all Americans while protecting the patient-physician relationship based on mutual trust, informed consent, and privileged patient confidentiality. We seek to increase healthcare choice and options, contain costs and reduce mandates, simplify the system for patients and providers, restore cuts made to Medicare, and equalize the tax treatment of group and individual health insurance plans. For most Americans, those who are insured now or who seek insurance in the future, our practical, non-intrusive reforms will promote flexibility in State leadership in healthcare reform, promote a free-market based system, and empower consumer choice. All of which will return direction of the nation’s healthcare to the people and away from the federal government.
OK? But how are you going to do that. I’m not going to re-post all of the healthcare section here (it is quite large). Most of the actual bullet points are more high-level ideas than policy items. It has been written vague enough that the Republicans can basically do anything they want and still say they are “working within the platform.”
There is also another problem with the Republican approach to healthcare. Here are some of the phrases I see used throughout the healthcare section:
We will ensure
we will work to ensure
We support federal investment
We urge a ban
We urge enactment of pending legislation
From a libertarian point of view the Republican Platform seems just as interventionist as the Democrat plan (Obamacare). Ironically this phrase is also hidden within the Republican healthcare platform: “To achieve a free market in healthcare and ensure competition…”. So, if I am reading the Republican platform correctly they are going to create a free market in healthcare by implementing the government controls they want; as opposed to the government controls the Democrats want.
Nope, not buying it. The Republicans have no actual plan or vision. I can understand that plans are hard to put into a platform, but an overall vision should be viable. The Republicans simply have nothing to offer that can provide true counter-points to Obamacare.
As recently as the 1960s, low-cost health insurance was available to virtually everyone in America – including people with existing medical problems. Doctors made house calls. A hospital stay cost only a few days’ pay. Charity hospitals were available to take care of families who could not afford to pay for healthcare.
Since then the federal government has increasingly intervened through Medicare, Medicaid, the HMO Act and tens of thousands of regulations on doctors, hospitals and health-insurance companies.
Today, more than 50 percent of all healthcare dollars are spent by the government.
Health insurance costs are skyrocketing. Government health programs are heading for bankruptcy. Politicians continue to pile on the regulations.
The Libertarian Party knows the only healthcare reforms that will make a real difference are those that draw on the strength of the free market.
The Libertarian Party will work towards the following:
1. Establish Medical Saving Accounts.
Under this program, you could deposit tax-free money into a Medical Savings Account (MSA). Whenever you need the money to pay medical bills, you will be able to withdraw it. For individuals without an MSA, the Libertarian Party will work to make all healthcare expenditures 100 percent tax deductible.
2. Deregulate the healthcare industry.
We should repeal all government policies that increase health costs and decrease the availability of medical services. For example, every state has laws that mandate coverage of specific disabilities and diseases. These laws reduce consumer choice and increase the cost of health insurance. By making insurance more expensive, mandated benefits increase the number of uninsured American workers.
3. Remove barriers to safe, affordable medicines.
We should replace harmful government agencies like the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) with more agile, free-market alternatives. The mission of the FDA is to protect us from unsafe medicines. In fact, the FDA has driven up healthcare costs and deprived millions of Americans of much-needed treatments. For example, during a 10-year delay in approving Propanolol Propranolol (a heart medication for treating angina and hypertension), approximately 100,000 people died who could have been treated with this lifesaving drug. Bureaucratic roadblocks kill sick Americans.
Do you see that. Three steps that work around the overall vision of returning the healthcare system back to when it worked the best. There are three separate sections that work towards this vision. First lets work to make sure all healthcare related expenses are before taxes. Instead of killing MSA’s (and HSA’s) like Obamacare does we should instead promote the use of such accounts. Such an approach also keeps employers out of the insurance business. That would be a winning solution for employers and employees alike. Employers would no longer need worrying about insurance regulations or varying costs. Employees would no longer feel they must keep working for bad employers because they don’t want to lose their health insurance.
Then lets deregulate the health care industry. As prices fall due to deregulation it will become less important to have great insurance. When prices drop down to their true market rates it would allow people to buy standard medical services directly from their MSA. Americans could then rely more upon the MSA and purchase only catastrophic insurance plans. That puts the insurance industry back to where it belongs: a last-resort method used only in emergencies.
Finally the FDA has to be replaced with something that actually works! To be fair the Republican Platform also included a very similar item to this. However the libertarian approach lets the market determine the best means to achieve drug safety. There are many industries that have private accreditation agencies. A privatized accreditation of new drugs would take politics and government bureaucracy out of the drug approval process.
In the end, the Republican Platform on healthcare and the DC Republicans choice to defund Obamacare with no alternative will backfire on them. It doesn’t matter if a majority hate Obamacare because they will support it over a plan of “we will do something different”. I don’t expect the GOP to take on the Libertarian approach, that would require them to actually be for smaller government. Instead I expect them to mess up the Obamacare debate and cost themselves votes in the 2014 election.
Today the Sioux Falls chapter of South Dakota Open Carry had their scheduled walk down Minnesota Avenue. I posted about this event earlier in the week. We didn’t get an official headcount, but I would say we had at least 60+ participate in the walk. All attendees were in great spirit; which was only intensified by the beautiful weather!
“I think all too often the general public doesn’t see law-abiding gun owners in their everyday life,” Jesse Rierson said.
At its core this is why marches like this are important. There were many walks of life represented in the march. Everyone I spoke with believed it was important to show their support for the 2nd Amendment. Most I spoke with were also defenders of the First Amendment, specifically free speech. The walkers were polite to the very few protesters they met along the way. If you view the Kelo-land story linked above there was a very nice lady named Vivian. She spoke with us at the Starbucks and politely let us know why she is against assault weapons.
I was however saddened to find out a group planning on protesting the Open Carry event decided not to come due to comments they received on local blog sites. As a defender of the First Amendment I was hoping that would group would attend. It is important for all voices to be heard. If they had attended the Open Carry group was prepared to be polite and agree to disagree.
A big part of this event was to make people feel comfortable when they see guns openly carried in public. The honks and cheers of support met the group up and down Minnesota Avenue. It felt good to see to many Sioux Falls commuters supporting the constitutional rights of all American citizens. I would also like to thank the thoughtful people who met us along Minnesota Avenue and provided us with water. That was very much appreciated.
Hopefully the South Dakota Open Carry group can get events such as this schedule on a regular basis. Events such as this bring awareness to an important constitutionally protected right while also showing that guns in public are really no big deal. It was also a pleasant walk with very nice people. All around this event could be called a success!
PS: Here are the pics I got from the event. For some reason my phone didn’t save 2/3 of the pictures, so the best shots are gone. That’s what I get for forgetting my real camera!
That might sound like a funny headline from a libertarian blogger. But yes, I think we have a case where the government must step in to help. For anyone that missed the news the Northern Beef Packers in Aberdeen laid off 260 workers on Wednesday. This was after missing payroll the Friday before. At that time I made the case that government-created situations such as this mean we need a more libertarian governor. Now I am going to make the case that the State should assist these 260 workers.
The Northern Beef Packers (NBP) plant was created in part through the EB-5 program; which allows green cards for “jobs created”. Former Governor Rounds proudly intervened in the market to create the current NBP situation. Add to this the plethora of taxpayer dollars used (either directly or indirectly through tax breaks) and the NBP plant is a text-book case of cronyism and corporate welfare at its worst. The cronyism that was started by Governor Rounds, and currently being continued by Governor Daugaard, in Aberdeen shows the true victims of government intervention into the market: the average working American citizen.
Now that 260 workers have been laid off it is time for the State to at least put a band-aid on the situation it created. The hard-working people who worked at NBP are understandably angry and seeking answers. In a dirty trick move NBP filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy before the South Dakota Labor Department could ensure the workers got their three weeks of pay that was never received. There is no excuse for NBP to behave in such a way; especially since most of their operations have been taxpayer-funded! The workers at Northern Beef Plant are not simply numbers for politicians to play with so they can sell green cards. These workers are hard-working people who expect honest pay for honest work. When cronyism enters the picture all honesty between the company and its employees are false.
That is why at this time I believe it is best for the State to provide emergency support for these families. This would not be a case of welfare or government intervention, it is a case of the State stepping in to help band-aid a situation it created. Apparently the State of South Dakota has a surplus of $24.2 million when the fiscal year ended last month. Part of that money could be used as short-term relief for these families until NBP is forced to pay its workers. If that means creating a special session of the legislature I would say that is OK. Right now what is important is to help these families, and determine later how to prevent such situation in the future.
On that note I would like to give a hat-tip to many Aberdeen residents that have been helping these displaced workers. Although I have been traveling the last few days, I have kept in touch with people back in Aberdeen. I have heard of church groups and non-profit organizations stepping up to assist the affected families. That is great to hear. I would urge anyone in the Aberdeen area reach out to their local charitable organizations to see if there is a way they can help. No matter how anyone feels about the political side of this story the human side of this story is still the most important aspect.
As I close this post I would like to urge Governor Daugaard and our State Legislators to see if there is a way they can help these hard-working South Dakota residents. This is not a case of welfare. Rather it is a case where the State should step in to assist people getting their lives back after being the victim of taxpayer sponsored cronyism.
It is quite common for groups to rate politicians votes on scorecards according to that groups main focus (or bias). These scorecards can be quite helpful when determining if a politician is “doing their job right”. They also can be misleading due to the inherent bias that comes with such methods. Today’s post is not about a scorecard. Rather it is about a vote from South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem that puts her at an automatic 0% for civil liberties. No past of future scorecard can overcome a civil liberties vote that puts her at an automatic 0%.
The vote in question is her vote of No to the Amash amendment (PDF) to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 (HR 2397). Two days ago I blogged about this amendment, urging people to get Noem to vote Aye. As I stated then the amendment does not stop all spying activities of the NSA; rather it prevents the NSA from blanket spying on all Americans. This amendment would have restricted the NSA from collecting the personal data of Americans unless it involves a person that is actually under investigation. Any Representative in Congress that chose to vote against his amendment has voted directly against the civil liberties of their constituents.
After reading your comments and messages about yesterday’s vote on Rep. Amash’s amendment, I wanted to take this opportunity and share some insight into my reasoning for voting against the amendment. I believe there is merit to this program, which has thwarted dozens of terrorist attacks and has effectively worked to keep our nation safe, and it also prohibits the government from obtaining call, email or text message content. I hope you’ll take a moment of your day to read the column below from the Heritage Foundation which helps explain some considerations regarding the amendment.
In her own works Noem says “there is merit to this program”. Remember this program (PRISM) authorizes collecting the data of all Americans without cause. She also mentions that PRISM “prohibits the government from obtaining call, email or text message content”. This goes back to the untruth that meta-data is “not real data”. The metadata collected can be used to track the movement, habits, and other activities of all American citizens. And then she goes on to say she voted No because of a Heritage Foundation article.
Lets look at what Heritage says the Amendment will do:
The proposed amendment would prohibit the federal government from executing any foreign intelligence surveillance order, unless the order from the court contained a particular sentence: “This Order limits the collection of any tangible things (including telephone numbers dialed, telephone numbers of incoming calls, and the duration of calls)…to those tangible things that pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation described in section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861).”
In other words, the amendment would undo the NSA’s current metadata authority and limit the collection of telephone metadata to only those who have already been identified as agents of a foreign power.
This is the core of Heritage’s argument against the Amendment: it will not allow the court to give a rubber stamp to spying on all Americans. Heritage gets this correct, the Amash amendment does prevent the NSA from collecting data unless it involves someone already under investigation. The court must ensure that any request for spying includes a person or persons that are directly being targeted. Blanket targeting of all Americans is an attack upon civil liberties in general, and the Fourth Amendment specifically.
Heritage then tries to make the case that “it’s already in use so it must be good”:
As a matter of policy, the amendment is a blunt instrument that summarily terminates a program that the federal government, under two very different Administrations, has thought vital.
Really? Since Bush and Obama agree with the policy that makes it right? And calling the amendment a “blunt instrument”? Those of that fall on the civil liberties end of this debate would call PRISM a “blunt instrument” used to spy on all American citizens.
And finally Heritage attempt to make a Constitutional case against the Amash Amendment:
Perhaps most importantly, the amendment comes perilously close to being a violation of the principle of separation of powers. Congress can, of course, change a law that a court construes and enforces, but Congress cannot by law command that a court put particular language into a court order. The amendment’s sponsors may respond that they are not directing the Court to act but rather only directing the executive branch to not act if the court declines to include the mandated language. But that is a scant distinction: In either case, Congress is using the power of its purse to force a particular judicial result.
I don’t agree with the Heritage assessment on this. Yes, the amendment does require language in the order about the person under investigation. However the language ensures that the NSA cannot ask for “blanket spying powers”. It also provides the FISA court with actual legal guidance as to when spying order can be used. If this portion of the amendment was such a problem it could be changed. But, I think it is unlikely anyone that voted No would do so. The No votes were done because Boehner and Pelosi told their people to, and not because of false “separation of powers” claims.
In addition the “Congress is using the power of its purse to force a particular judicial result” also doesn’t hold water. Congress is not taking away the Court’s ability to determine if a spying request on a person should or shouldn’t be approved. Rather it is saying that if the FISA court decides to give “blanket spying powers” to the NSA then Congress will defund the NSA. It has been clear there has been little or no actual oversight ability of Congress over the NSA and the FISA court. This amendment would actually create an oversight method that is effective.
I find it sad that Noem decided her “research” of reading this Heritage article was enough to vote against civil rights. Many have been messaging Noem since her vote. In response she now has posted this on Facebook:
Appreciate the conversation about the Amash amendment. I’m on my way back to SD and wanted to provide some additional insight. After attending hours of briefings and learning the facts of the program, I decided to support the Pompeo amendment which makes it explicitly clear that the government cannot obtain call or email content without a court order based on probable cause. This amendment (which was adopted) ensures that the NSA cannot spy on or listen to phone calls, emails, or text messages. I did not support the Amash amendment because it would have ended a program that has thwarted dozens of terrorist attacks. The amendment also raised constitutional concerns, which were outlined in the Heritage article I previously posted.
Kristi is trying to backtrack without actually backtracking. She is focused purely upon email and phone “content”. Apparently she feels spying on all American citizens is OK as long as they don’t collect phone or email content. That does nothing to prevent the NSA from collecting any other type of data they wish. As a I stated above the “metadata” being collected is data about the activities of American citizens and runs afoul of civil rights and the Fourth Amendment.
Thanks to Noem’s vote of No the Amash amendment she has moved from the “disappointment” category to becoming a true enemy of liberty. Here is the final roll-call vote for the Amash Amendment. In it includes all 217 Representatives that voted No. These 217 congressmen have proven themselves to be against civil liberties and should be dealt with accordingly in the next election. 134 Republicans (a majority) and 83 Democrats voted NO to this Amendment. This shows voters of both parties must make their elected officials know it is NOT OK to vote against civil liberties.
I have spoken with many concerned South Dakota voters over the last two days who say they will NEVER give another vote to Noem. With that in mind we must come up with a new candidate for US House. Going forward there are three possible paths I can see.
The Republicans can primary someone against Noem. With Stace running for Senate I don’t see this as a great solution at this time. A majority of the “Republicans” in Pierre are anything but small-government conservatives. My trust in the South Dakota GOP in choosing a worthy candidate at this time is very low.
The Democrats can have someone enter the race. With the SDDP spending what little resources they have on the Senate race I don’t see this as a likely course. Even if they did run a candidate I don’t think this would be a good choice for those worried about abuse of power in DC. The thought of a Democrat controlled House under a Democrat President just does not sound viable from a liberty perspective (I would say the same about a Republican House under a Republican President).
A third-party candidate must step up. Whether this means someone running Independent, Constitution Party, or Libertarian Party it doesn’t matter. I think going forward this will be the only choice for South Dakota citizens that are tired of politicians like Noem that will do anything their party leadership demands. By taking a stance against civil liberties Noem may have provided the power needed to stop sending party politicians to DC as a representative for South Dakota.
Hopefully in the coming months we can find one or more candidates to run against Noem. It is unclear if that will be an R, D, L, C or I. No matter which way it goes I know one thing: many of us will not vote for Noem from this point on. Even if Noem wins again it will not be a “free pass” like Thune got his last election. Many of us are willing to work to keep Noem and her anti-liberty colleagues out of DC.
This Saturday, July 27, 2013, there will be an Open Carry Walk in Sioux Falls. The event is being organized by the Sioux Falls chapter of South Dakota Open Carry (Facebook – twitter). I personally plan to attend this event. This type of event is perfect for exercising a constitutionally protected right (2nd Amendment) in a peaceful manner. Events like this show the open carry of guns by responsible citizens is not a danger.
There is an even bigger reason I support peaceful events such as this. It is best summed up by the opencarry.org motto: “A Right Unexercised is a Right Lost”. Politicians in DC for decades have been slowly tearing away constitutionally protected rights. Our current President has been making attempts at sweeping gun control measure to draw attention away from his scandal-ridden second term. Add to that the Supreme Court decision last month that Fifth Amendment protections don’t apply if they are not “invoked”. Well, events such as this create the opportunity for citizens to invoke their rights. If rights are invoked it will be harder for anyone to say to take those rights away because “they are no longer used”.
The event will begin at 5:15 pm. See the Facebook Event page for more details on where to meet. It appears the walk will be a two-mile stretch down Minnesota Avenue where the group will get refreshments at Starbucks. Then there will be a return walk back to the starting point.
If anyone plans to attend it is imperative they read and understand the few safety rules listed on the Facebook Event page. Remember events like this are NOT acts of civil disobedience; they are about exercising your constitutional rights. All Federal, State, and local laws must be followed.
That said, I hope to have a pleasant walk exercising a constitutional right this Saturday evening. It will be nice to spend an evening with fellow citizens that understand the importance of civil and Constitutionally protected rights.
A few days ago I blogged about the FISA court renewing the NSA’s power to spy on all Americans. To fight back in the name of civil liberties Representative Justin Amash has proposed an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 (HR 2397). The amendment is straightforward and cannot be ‘misinterpreted’ by the NSA. Here is the text of the amendment (PDF):
AMENDMENT TO H.R. 2397, AS REPORTED
OFFERED BY MR. AMASH OF MICHIGAN
At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following new section:
SEC. ll. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to execute a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order pursuant to section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861) that does not include the following sentence: ‘‘This Order limits the collection of any tangible things (including telephone numbers dialed, telephone numbers of incoming calls, and the duration of calls) that may be authorized to be collected pursuant to this Order to those tangible things that pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation described in section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861).’’.
The key part of this bill is “that pertain to a person who is subject of an investigation”. Simply put, the FISA court cannot approve program such as PRISM that allows the NSA to collect data on all Americans. This should be a non-partisan issue. Every American that cares about civil liberties should not want the NSA spying on all citizens.
Tonight (Tuesday) or tomorrow there is expected to be debate on the amendment. It is also expected that the actual vote for this amendment will happen tomorrow (Weds, July 24).
It is imperative that American citizens let their Representatives know they support civil liberties and Justin Amash’s amendment. Ironically Amash had to work directly with Boehner to get the amendment on the floor since Republican leadership is opposed to it. That is one reason I fear South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem will vote against liberty. She has shown herself to be a tool of House leadership on any issue that doesn’t have to do with farm welfare. Going into this vote it is imperative that South Dakota citizens let Rep Noem know they do NOT want the NSA spying on them.
Here are some methods to let Rep Noem know we expect her to stand against the NSA:
Go to Defund the NSA website. This website provides information on how to contact your Representatives and also provides a script for those who can’t think of what to say.
I have hope Justin Amash has enough support to get the Amendment passed in the House. But i currently have no faith Representative Noem will vote Yea to it. I believe she will use the lobby efforts of the NSA today as a reason for her Nay vote; but in reality she will vote Nay because Boehner told her to. I would urge anyone in South Dakota to lobby Rep Noem into putting the civil liberties of South Dakotan’s over the will of her leadership and the lobbying efforts of the NSA.
PS. Ironically President Obama has promised to veto this amendment. It is almost getting old saying this: Remember President Obama, he is the one that campaigned on a transparent government…
The Stace Nelson Exploratory Committee sent out the below news today. This is great news! A post with my thoughts will follow later today (creating posts on a phone is annoying, but I wanted to pass this on right away).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 23rd, 2013
Stace Nelson Exploratory Committee Narrows Focus To US Senate Seat
Rapid City, SD – Representative Stace Nelson, after traveling across the
state and discussing requests to serve with numerous concerned voters,
made the following announcement Monday:
“After careful consideration of the hundreds of requests from South
Dakotans to serve them, I have heard their concerns, and I am putting my
focus on exploring a run for the office that they have indicated they most
need a true Conservative to run for, and that is South
Dakota’s 2014 United States Senate race. South Dakotans have indicated
they are tired of career professional politicians, and recognize that such
people are responsible for creating the mess that we are all
currently worried about in DC. They have indicated they want the
choice of an honest public servant to serve them as their next
senator, and many have recognized that public servant in me.”
The announcement comes on the heals of brief tour West River, a rally
hosted for him in Rapid City by concerned voters, and after meeting with
hundreds of supporters.
“I share South Dakotans’ concerns for the direction of our country.
We sorely need public servants in office, not career politicians, who will
strive for honest government and who will stand on conservative South
Dakota values, for South Dakotans, alongside the likes of
Senators John Thune, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee,” said Nelson.
In 2014, voters in South Dakota will elect a member to the open US
senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Tim Johnson.
“Since I joined the Marines right out of high school in 1985, I have
demonstrated that I am an honest public servant who has always placed duty
to the public I serve, first and foremost, and that I will fight any
fight, any time, no matter the odds, for them. Our children and
grand-children are facing an uncertain future because of the problems in
Washington. I’m ready to fight for their futures by bringing a positive
vision of common sense, and conservative South Dakota values to DC, to get
our nation back on track.”
The 2014 South Dakota Senate race will potentially be one of the most
contested races in the nation. State and national Republican leaders
consider a gain in South Dakota essential and attainable.